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Virginians in U.S. House vote along partisan lines, offer views on impeachment

Virginia’s members of the House of Representatives divided along partisan lines Wednesday in voting on the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

The seven Democrats in the state’s delegation voted for impeachment. The four Republicans voted against it.

Members under the closest watch are Reps. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, and Elaine Luria, D-2nd, who flipped GOP-held districts in 2018 in seats Republicans hope to win back next year.

Spanberger and Luria in floor speeches both emphasized their backgrounds in explaining their support for impeachment, Spanberger as a CIA officer and Luria as a Naval commander.

“Today, especially today, I reflect on the founding documents that have set us apart in the world, leading people across generations and across the world to risk everything because of their belief in our great nation,” said Spanberger, who upset Rep. Dave Brat in 2018 in a 10-county district that includes parts of suburban Richmond along with conservative areas of central Virginia.

“Today, especially today, I affirm my commitment to upholding and protecting the Constitution, the rule of law it defines and the people it governs.”

Luria said the oath she took in the Navy gave her resolve for the vote.

“Resolve to do what is right and not what is politically expedient. Resolve to stand with the president at the White House last week and resolve to stand up to the president in this House today.”

Said Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-5th: “Thomas Jefferson and James Madison are not around to see what their creation has become, but I don’t think they would be pleased to see Congress subverting the will of democracy by holding an impeachment vote because the majority party simply cannot accept the 2016 election.”

Riggleman was elected in 2018 in a Republican district that stretches from Fauquier County down to the North Carolina line and runs across Southside Virginia.

Rep. Ben Cline, R-6th, whose district stretches along the Blue Ridge Mountains, was a strong supporter of Trump as the only member from Virginia on the House Judiciary Committee, which sent two articles of impeachment to the House floor.

Cline said in a floor speech that the people, not Congress, should decide who the president is and said there was no clear proof of impeachable offenses against Trump.

“This majority today has chosen to obfuscate with hearsay, innuendo and speculation,” said Cline, a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates who was elected to Congress in 2018.

“And when history looks back on this shameful period for this House, it will judge it for what it truly is: The ugly hijacking by the majority of our Constitution, and the powers it so solemnly entrusts to us to engage in a blatantly political process designed to finally achieve what they could not achieve at the ballot box – the removal of a duly elected president.”

Democrats said the facts gave them no choice but to impeach.

“I have no doubt that the votes I cast today will stand the test of time,” said Rep. Don Beyer, D-8th, who represents Northern Virginia. “This has nothing to do with the 2016 elections.

“I’m so disappointed that my Republican friends approve of the president’s abuses of power and solicitation of foreign interference in our elections. … They know in their hearts that what the president has done is deeply wrong. They know that they would vote without hesitation to impeach a Democratic president who had done these things.”


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